This summer, Gov. Ralph Northam recognized Virginia’s first ever Racial Truth and Reconciliation Week. That initiative has since evolved into Racial Truth and Reconciliation Virginia, a coalition that aims to empower the voices of marginalized communities, tackling topics from food insecurity to racism in the foster care system. Chloe Edwards is the brain behind the group, an idea that was implemented in only 30 days. “It took off like wildfire,” she says.
As advocacy and engagement manager at Voices for Virginia’s Children, Edwards utilizes her newly acquired master’s degree in public policy to support the nonprofit’s policy team – Voices is the state’s only independent, multi-issue child policy and advocacy organization.
“Outreach doesn’t mean just informing the community,” Edwards stresses. “We’re making sure our engagement is not transactional, but relationship-based.” The group uses data to spot trends and patterns, creating objective agendas that it then brings to policymakers. The work is taxing but it’s a cause near to Edwards’ heart.
“At the age of 14, I ran away to escape abuse,” Edwards says. “I wasn’t believed by a white male police officer – he told me he used to be a little child and he learned to be quiet. Instead I became a champion for children.”Back to the 2020 Top 40 Under 40